Creating a combination of Urban farming, IoT and Scandinavian design, making it simple and fun to grow your own food.
– Both for me personally, but I also hope to be a role model for other women, so they dare to take a step towards fulfilling their dreams and to believe in themselves. For my business this scholarship also means a lot, it could help us to demonstrate that we a company that really cares about how we develop our community and future to the better.
Ever since she was a child, Josefin Persson’s had a great curiosity in how things work.
– This developed into my technical interest, which led me to a Master of Science in Design and product development at Linköping University, she says and continues:
– People who do what they believe and just goes for it inspires me. My sister and mother has always been great role models. My mother is a powerful woman and an inspirational high school teacher, who is very determined and amiable and has always been a true role model for her pupils. My sister had a real struggle during university, but she fought really hard and never gave up and finally made it.
Josefin herself is an energetic entrepreneur with great passion for what she does.
– She is an extraordinary entrepreneur with many valuable competences, but even more important she has a fantastic mindset - her energy, positivity, work ethic and fighting spirit have been really important for our growth. She is also a very responsible person and always make sure even the most boring tasks are getting done in time, says her partner Erik and continues:
– Last but not least, Josefin is inspirational and a great role model for young women who want to become tech entrepreneurs.
– I have a great passion for growing and the apartment is almost always full of plants of different kinds, says Josefin Persson.
In the spring of 2016, Josefin went to China for some weeks, leaving her plants in the hands of Erik, and that was the beginning of SIOS:
– My partner Erik was supposed to take care of the plants. He loves the feeling of eating fresh vegetables produced in the living room but had no clue how to take care of dozens of plants, each with different growing cycles. To make a long story short, when I came back the plants were dead.
There and then the idea of an autonomous greenhouse was born, she explains.
– It started out as a fun side project, but the concept spread and surprisingly people called us and wanted to buy our greenhouse.
The interest grew along with the plants, and Josefin decided to turn her side project into a company, and start selling the greenhouse.
What does SIOS stand for?
– Sustainable Innovation of Scandinavia.
SIOS is a combination of Urban farming, IoT and Scandinavian design, making it simple and fun to grow your own food.
– Our technology makes the gardening process to an exciting user experience. Watering and lighting are automated, optimized for each kind of plant, and you can control the process in our app.
SIOS first product is a tiny indoor greenhouse with room for six plants, and coming up is a new modular and scalable product suited for offices, restaurants and public environments.
– Our vision is a sustainable and smart city with local farms everywhere, with fresh herbs and vegetables for everyone. Our technology is going to make that happen, says Josefin.
The company is based in DoSpace, a co-working space connected to Science Park Mjärdevi.
– We get a lot of support and advices from Science Park Mjärdevi. And I do too. For instance, they invited me to join a panel on Diversity in boards and companies. Mjärdevi also highlighted me as one of their powerful female entrepreneurs during the International Women’s Day.
SIOS is also backed by LiU Innovation and the Växtzon project through Vreta Kluster.
The company currently has 14 customers, both coming from companies and the business to consumer side.
– We’ve kept close relations with our customers during the development phase of our product, and we will continue to involve existing and potential customers when we create the coming ones.
Not working too much is a challenge.
– It’s hard to balance all the things going on in life. University, the company and also to have a healthy lifestyle. I love what I do for a living, and when you know that your time is the only thing that stops your company from blooming even faster, then you want to push yourself and work a lot. In a long-term this doesn’t work. It is vital for everyone to have balance between working and living life.
Another challenge is how to design for serial production, Josefin explains.
– The first product SIOS produced, which was 13 units, made us realize that we should have thought about production aspects during the design phase. However, we learned a lot during that period and when we designed the new product, we were much more thorough with the details.
One of the greatest thing about working with SIOS is the team, she continues:
– We have great chemistry, making a perfect storm of different competences and mindsets. Tobias is a technical problem solver out of this world and is highly skilled in both hardware and software development. Erik loves marketing and business development and is good at sales and relations with customers, investors and others. I’m the team’s designer and the one making our products and company shine. I’m also a huge gardening enthusiast, making sure that our customers get fruitful harvests. We also have a very competent advisory board who support us and believes in us and our idea.
– It is an honor to receive the ÅForsk Entrepreneurial Scholarship, both for me personally and for my company. It really feels like others believe in our idea as well, and especially for the great potential to be a game changer in how we eat and farm our food in urban environments.
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